You’ve probably seen a tree that develops a lump or bump along the trunk. It’s called a plant gall and usually indicates that some sort of parasite or fungi has invaded, causing deformities in the outer layers of the tree. Your heel bone can develop such a bump, too. If it occurs on the back side of the calcaneus, it is called Haglund’s deformity, and there are several things that could cause this painful condition.
The Bump on the Heel Goes Ow! Ow! Ow!
Where the Achilles tendon attaches to the back of the heel bone, there is a small sac of fluid (bursa) that acts as a cushion between the two. If your tendon is too tight, or if you have high arches or walk on the outside edge of your foot, there is extra tension as the Achilles pulls against the outer plate of the bone. To compensate, your bone makes extra tissue at the spot, forming a bone spur. This in turn irritates the bursa, which becomes red and inflamed (bursitis). The whole area can become swollen and painful—Haglund’s deformity has set in.
Why do you get such growths? As noted above, your inherited foot structure has something to do with it. Certain shoes can also be a problem. Those with stiff heels, such as high-heeled pumps, dress shoes for men, and ice skates or roller blades, can rub against the heel bone and cause the bump to form as well.
The Treatments for the Bump Are Pads, Ice, Shoes
At home, you can try three things to relieve the pain: cushioned heel pads that fit in the back of your shoes, ice packs that are applied throughout the day, and shoes that don’t aggravate the area. If you don’t have other foot problems like bunions or tendinitis, switching to clogs or shoes without backs will keep pressure off the bump and let it heal.
Sometimes a heel cushion that lifts the heel slightly in the shoe can help, too. You can also try stretches to loosen a tight Achilles, such as bent-knee wall stretches, or towel stretches where you sit on the floor with your legs straight ahead, loop a towel around the ball of your foot, and gently pull it toward you.
The Staff at our Clinic Says “Come on In!”
If you try home remedies for your Haglund’s deformity but the pain doesn’t go away, or the bump gets bigger, it is time to get help. Contact Abbott Foot & Ankle Clinic and let us take a look at your feet. There are other conservative treatments we can try, such as ultrasound to reduce inflammation and pain, custom orthotics to control the way your foot moves, casting or immobilizing the foot, or other physiotherapy stretches and exercises.
Once the condition improves, we can also use these same methods (shoe choice, orthotics, stretches, etc.) to keep it from coming back. One hint: as a runner, Chiropodist Tony Abbott will tell you that running on hard surfaces or doing a lot of hills will make this problem worse.
If you live in the Owen Sound, Collingwood, or Barrie, Ontario, area, call our clinic in Collingwood today at (705) 444-9929, or request an appointment using our “contact us” tab on our website. You can also check us out on Google+, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest to find up-to-date, helpful information. Let us treat your feet and help you say goodbye to foot pain!
Photo Credit: Samuiblue via FreeDigitalPhotos.net